The end is in sight. The last of this semester’s final exams takes place today and all campus residence halls officially close tomorrow, December 22, at noon, and won’t reopen until January 11, 2013, at 10 a.m. Residence dining service for the semester ends with dinner tonight and won’t resume until Saturday, January 12, 2013.
But for those students, faculty, and staff who are sticking around over Christmas, we’ve compiled a list of activities guaranteed to put you in the holiday spirit. There are plenty of ways to enjoy the start of winter break, from comedy to ballet, ice-skating to shopping, so enjoy!
And happy holidays!
Downtown Boston Holiday Market
Downtown Boston’s biggest holiday market has returned for its fourth year, featuring vendors selling one-of-a-kind jewelry, clothing, and artisanal foods, along with appearances by Santa Claus and performances by local musicians on Summer Street. It’s a great place to purchase unusual, last-minute gifts, or you can just wander through the festive streets. Be sure to check out Macy’s holiday windows while you’re there.
The Downtown Boston Holiday Market, at Downtown Crossing on Summer Street (outside Macy’s), is open through December 29, Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Park Street.
Santa in the City
Looking for a photo op with Santa Claus? Head over to the Shops at Prudential Center, where the man of the hour will be on hand to pose for pictures with children of all ages. A variety of photo packages are available, starting at $19.99. Santa’s hours are today from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday, December 22, from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday, December 23, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Monday, December 24, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Belvidere Arcade. More information is here.
The Shops at Prudential Center are at 800 Boylston St., Boston. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Hynes Convention Center.
Harvard Square Holiday Fair
The 27th annual Harvard Square Holiday Fair, held in the basement and courtyard of the First Parish Unitarian Church in Harvard Square, has become one of the oldest and most popular holiday events in the Boston area. The fair attracts a changing mix of New England artisans and world importers offering a unique and affordable selection of gifts, including jewelry, pottery, tree ornaments, cards and calendars, art, recycled silk, lamps, hats, scarves, and more.
The Harvard Square Holiday Fair is held at the First Parish Unitarian Church, 1446 Mass. Ave., Cambridge, today from 11:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., Saturday, December 22, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday, December 23, from noon to 6 p.m. Take any Green Line trolley to Park Street, switch to an outbound Red Line train, and get off at Harvard Square. The church is at Church Street and Mass. Ave., across from the Harvard Square T stop.
Candlelight Christmas Eve Service at Marsh Chapel
Marsh Chapel Dean Robert Allan Hill will officiate at the annual service, and seasonal music will be performed by the Marsh Chapel Choir.
The service, which is free and open to the public, takes place on Monday, December 24, at 7:30 p.m. at Marsh Chapel, 735 Comm. Ave.
There’s no more festive way to celebrate the holiday season than hearing a Holiday Pops concert. Led by conductor Keith Lockhart (Hon.’04), the Pops will perform Christmas classics and carols, and St. Nick is expected to make a visit as well. Warm up your vocal chords: part of this annual crowd-pleaser features a sing-along. Ticket prices range from $35 to $129, depending on availability and seating section, so try to book in advance.
The concert runs through December 24 at Symphony Hall, 301 Mass. Ave., Boston. Performances are today, December 21, at 4 and 8 p.m., Saturday, December 22 at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Sunday, December 23, at 3 and 7:30 p.m., and Monday, December 24, at 3 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Hynes Convention Center or take a Green Line E train to the Symphony stop.
Bach Cantata Series at Emmanuel Church
For more than 40 years the renowned Orchestra and Chorus of Emmanuel Music have been presenting Johannes Sebastian Bach’s extraordinary cantatas in the liturgical setting in which they were meant to be heard. The Bach Cantata Series is performed at Emmanuel Church each Sunday following the 10 a.m. service. Information about the schedule is here.
Emmanuel Church is at 15 Newbury St., Boston. Services are free and open to the public. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to the Arlington Street stop.
Boston Ballet’s The Nutcracker
There’s still time to see one of the world’s most beloved ballets, The Nutcracker, performed by the acclaimed Boston Ballet. This year, the company debuts an entirely reimagined production with new sets, costumes, and choreography. A limited number of student rush tickets are available for all performances at $20 each with a student ID. You must arrive two hours before the performance to get discounted tickets, which are cash only. Weekend performances frequently sell out, so it’s advisable to call in advance to check on ticket availability.
The Boston Ballet performs The Nutcracker through December 30 at the Boston Opera House, 539 Washington St., Boston. Performances today are at 1 and 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, December 22, and Sunday, December 23, at 1 and 5:30 p.m. and on Monday, December 24, at 1 p.m. There is no performance on Christmas day. Performances resume on Wednesday, December 26, and the final performance is on Sunday, December 30. Non-student rush tickets run between $50 and $182. The Boston Ballet box office, 539 Washington St., is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and accepts all major credit cards. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to the Boylston stop.
Memphis, the Musical
This weekend is your last chance to see the hit Broadway musical Memphis, which won four Tony Awards, including Best Musical in 2010. The show is loosely based on the life of Dewey Phillips, one of the first white DJs to play black music in the 1950s. The show concludes its run on Sunday, December 23. Ticket prices range from $27 to $129. Student rush tickets (up to two per ID) are available 90 minutes before show time on Sunday night only and are subject to availability. More information is here.
Memphis runs through December 23 at Citi Performing Arts Center Colonial Theatre, 270 Tremont St., Boston. Performances are today, December 21, at 8 p.m., Saturday, December 22, at 2 and 8 p.m., and Sunday, December 23, at 1 and 6:30 p.m. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to the Boylston stop.
Back by popular demand, this burlesque version of The Nutcracker returns to the Somerville Theatre. A blend of parody and sexual fantasy, this holiday spectacular, which features whips, strippers, clowns, bondage gear, and dildos, bills itself as “a sexy-freaky holiday zeitgeist spectacular.” General admission tickets are $25, and you must be 18 or older to attend. It’s best to purchase tickets early, as this event routinely sells out its run.
The Slutcracker runs through December 31 at the Somerville Theatre, 55 Davis Square, Somerville. Tickets for performances on December 21 and 22 are sold out. Tickets are still available for performances on December 23 at 2 and 8 p.m., December 24 at 7 p.m., and December 31 at 7 p.m. Tickets can be purchased here. Take any Green Line trolley to Park Street, switch to an outbound Red Line train, and get off at the Davis Square stop.
Blink! at Faneuil Hall
Featuring the music of the Holiday Pops, Blink! is a state-of-the-art light and sound extravaganza that transforms Faneuil Hall with more than 350,000 LED lights. Performances begin at 4:30 p.m. each evening and run every half hour until 10 p.m. through December 31. The event is free and open to the public.
To get to Faneuil Hall, take any Green Line trolley to Government Center.
If you’re looking for some quality ice time, Boston Common’s Frog Pond is the place to be. Save some bucks by skating on College Night, every Tuesday evening from 6 to 9 p.m. Show your ID and you’ll pay only $2 for admission.
Frog Pond is in the Boston Common, at Beacon and Walnut Streets, and is open for public skating Monday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free for children and $5 for adults. Bring your own skates or rent a pair ($5 for children, $9 for adults). Take any MBTA Green Line or Red Line trolley to Park Street.
Gary Gulman at Improv Asylum
Laugh away all your post-finals and holiday stress at Improv Asylum in the North End. Boston’s own Gary Gulman presents his special holiday stand-up show, “All I Want for Hannukah is Christmas!” on Monday, December 24. Gulman has appeared on such television shows as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Late Show with David Letterman and Last Comic Standing. The show will also feature special guest Dan Crohn. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.
“All I Want For Hannukah is Christmas!” is on Monday, December 24, at 8 p.m. at Improv Asylum, 216 Hanover St., Boston. Take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Haymarket.
Looking for ideas on how to celebrate New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day in Boston? Check back on Wednesday, December 26, for a list of events you won’t want to miss.